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Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan Trust to skip Pous Mela despite 'all good intentions'

The decision left a large section of people in Santiniketan, including traders and artisans, disappointed as the varsity's executive council unanimously decided to hold the event on December 1

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 05.12.23, 06:05 AM
A picture of Pous Mela in Santiniketan that was last held in 2019.

A picture of Pous Mela in Santiniketan that was last held in 2019. File picture

Visva-Bharati and Santiniketan Trust on Monday jointly decided not to organise the century-old Pous Mela this year citing several reasons as constraints.

Both the parties reached a consensus that it would not be feasible for them to hold the event this year despite "all good intentions".

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"After a meeting of officials of the Trust and the varsity, it was decided that organising the fair was not possible, primarily because of a shortage of time. There are four challenges discussed in the meeting which can't be sorted out. We had all good intentions to hold the fair this year," said a senior varsity official.

Following Monday's decision, this will be the fourth consecutive year, when the traditional fair, which was started by Rabindranath Tagore's father Maharshi Debendranath in 1984, will not be organised on the campus.

The decision left a large section of people in Santiniketan, including traders and artisans, disappointed as the varsity's executive council unanimously decided to hold the event on December 1.

"It has upset us. We were hopeful that the fair would be organised this year and that the good days would be ahead after VC Bidyut Chakrabarty's tenure was over. It is unfortunate for not only us but lakhs of people that the varsity failed to organise the event," said Aminul Huda, secretary of the Kaviguru Hastashilpa Unnayan Samity, an outfit of artisans in Santiniketan.

On Monday afternoon, Visva-Bharati issued a statement informing the public about its decision and cited four reasons for the inability to organise the event.

The varsity cited the paucity of time as the prime reason for not holding the event.

"Despite his efforts since joining as Upacharya, the period since that date, as well as days remaining from today, is extremely short to arrange an event of the scale and significance of the Pous Mela," the statement reads.

A senior teacher on the campus asked why the varsity authorities could not understand that logic earlier, especially before the executive council meeting on December 1.

The varsity also claimed that the online booking system was not prepared because the IIT Kharagpur did not respond properly and a small-scale fair would not be financially viable for the Santiniketan Trust.

The fourth reason was infrastructure lacunae.

A source said the state government would contact Visva-Bharati soon to offer the varsity infrastructural assistance to organise the fair.

In 2021 and 2022, the traders organised the fair in a different ground in Bolpur town with the help of the state government.

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